Aussie travellers purchasing power highest in Japan

If you are planning a holiday this year, Japan offers the best value for money according to the 2014 Expedia Foreign Exchange Index.

For the second consecutive year, Japan has come out as the best destination for Australian travellers. In 2013, the Australian dollar increased its value by 2.3 percent against the Japanese Yen.

Japan has traditionally been a pricey destination for Australians, so the high value of the Australian dollar offers a unique opportunity for Australians to enjoy an affordable holiday in the 'Land of the Rising Sun.'

The Expedia Foreign Exchange Index, now in its fifth year, measures the performance of the Australian dollar against major global currencies, taking into account foreign exchange rates and inflation.

The only other destination which recorded an increase was Indonesia, where the Australian dollar increased its value by 7 percent. The dollar decreased in value against 13 of the 15 top destinations including the US which was down 15.1 percent and the Europe, down 18.6 percent.

Georg Rubensal, Managing Director Expedia Australian and New Zealand said Australians need to be smart as their purchasing power is impacted.

"In addition to keeping a close eye on exchange rates, hunting for deals, being flexible with dates and bundling hotels and flights to benefit from additional discounts are also a great way to stretch the travel budget further."

Financial comparison site Mozo also recommends that travellers do their homework on their travel money options before leaving for overseas to avoid high fees and charges by banks and foreign currency providers. 

Mozo's top 5 travel money tips are:

1. Pre-order foreign currency. Rates at the airport are some of the worse around. Pre-order your currency online before you leave.

2. Be wary of commission free. Shop around before you exchange. Many 'commission free' foreign exchange outlets build a profit into their buy and sell rates.

3. Not all cards are created equal. Before you whip out the plastic, you should know how much you are getting charged for the privilege.  ATM withdrawal fees can be as high as $5 per transaction and currency conversion fees as much as 3%. Some cards charge no fees such as the Citibank Transaction Plus Account and the 28 Degrees Mastercard (cash advance fee applies)

4. Set a travel budget. Prepaid travel cards are gaining in popularity as they allow you to lock in your exchange rate before you leave, making on road budgeting easier. Just be sure to check out all the features though, some charge high cross currency fees and others charge you fees to get your money back if you come home with money still on the card.

5. Avoid credit card cash advances. This is the worst travel money mistake you can make. Cash advances will set you back with overseas cash advance fees, foreign exchange fees, and high interest from day one.

Head to Mozo's travel money hub to compare exchange rates, prepaid cards and guides on travel money tips and traps.